Behind the Black Door: Tales from 51X

51X Black Door
Zephyr: First One

Zephyr: First One

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Sep 20, 2022

On June 18,1982 Zephyr opened the first one man show at 51X gallery. It set the stage for the style of exhibition 51X would become known for. Zephyr himself and the show were an enormous influence on me. He changed the way I thought a gallery exhibit should look.  Before the show and planning to start the work, Zeph said to my partner Ed Kurpell that he wished I would go to New Jersey for the weekend. This way he could go off and bomb the entire space. When he finished, the exhibition was installation based. Wooden panels were hung...

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Opening night

Opening night

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Jun 17, 2022

On March 6, 1982 51X officially opened it's gallery doors to the public with the inaugural exhibition. The "Opening Night" group show were artists Futura 2000, Dondi, Fab Five Freddy, Kiely Jenkins and myself. Futura was a great help and responsible for putting together the group of artists that participated. I couldn't have done it without him. I remember when Futura said that Fred was going to join in I was ecstatic! At the time Fab Five Freddy was bigger than life to me, the real deal, a true artist and an ambassador to the arts. He was very influential...

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FUTURA - A Night to remember

FUTURA - A Night to remember

Posted by Rich Colicchio on May 22, 2022

I had become good friends with FUTURA and Gerb  1981. They both always welcomed me with open arms keeping me up on the current events  and happenings.  At the time Futura started preparing for his one man show at the Fun Gallery. Gerb was out of town and he planned on doing the artwork right upstairs, in their apartment. That day Futura was going to work on the pieces and he invited me to come over and hangout. I arrived by early evening and  the only other person there was Jeanette’s brother. Jeanette was Futura’s girlfriend then, her name appeared...

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Keith Haring Priceless Tale

Keith Haring Priceless Tale

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Apr 30, 2022

One night I was sitting outside by myself on the stoop of 51St.Marks Place. Keith Haring happened to walk up to the building visiting Gerb and Futura. We knew each other quite well having shared a few classes together at SVA and from the East Village art scene. I told him that they weren't home at the time so he decided to sit down next to me and chat. During the conversation Keith wished he had taken the media art production classes I did to earn extra needed cash. I responded " but you are having a major one man...

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Right place at Right time

Right place at Right time

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Mar 04, 2022

Right place at right time. By 1980 the East Village in NYC was the place to be for most up and coming artists, musicians and writers all gathered there. Making it the new hot spot and becoming the talk of the town! Saint Marks Place was the street considered to be the center of the new scene. On any given day walking around the neighborhood you would see people  like Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone, Tama Janowitz, Rene Ricard, Patti Astor to name a few. This became our inspiration and main reason we decided to look in...

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